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FlashForward Releases First 10 Episodes February 26, 2010

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For those who don’t know, “FlashForward” is a new series on ABC that aired in the fall. Episodes came to a halt on Dec. 3 for the Christmas and Olympic Games break. It will resume on March 18. The show is quite similar to “Lost” in that it has a somewhat complex storyline, full of details and lots of characters. The show starts when just about everyone on the planet blacks out for 137 seconds and sees a vision of what appears to be the future. For the next 9 episodes, the story follows an alcoholic FBI agent researching the blackouts. It is a great story that is full of potential. It has lots of mystery, suspense, action and drama.

From a publicist point of view, it makes perfect sense to release these first 10 episodes during this long hiatus. The story is so complicated the people will need to watch the episodes again after a 3 month break. The question is, why did they wait so long? The DVD and Blu-ray set came out just a few days ago, on Feb. 23. In my opinion, the set should have come out around Christmas just like the FOX series “Glee” did on Dec 29. This would have given potential fans more time to check out the show before the break ends. Instead, fans only have 23 days to buy the DVD and watch all 8 hours of the show before episode 11 starts back up. It also could have potentially been a popular holiday gift!

The other problem I have with this DVD set is the lack of special features. All ten episodes are available to watch on the ABC Web site for free in high definition. There should be some reason to buy this half-series on DVD, like a preview of whats to come or some detailed explanation of the black outs that is not available anywhere else. Instead of buying the first ten episodes now, I think most people will watch them online and buy the full set when they come out in late August. I know that the publicist is not usually in control of content or release dates, but they should have been raising questions and red flags and stopped this. A good publicist will know what fans of the show want and when they want it better than anyone else. In this case, the ball was dropped and a lot of people let it roll all the way to what is going to be a disappointing release.


Gordon Gekko is back! February 19, 2010

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After being locked up for 23 years, Gordon Gekko is out of prison and back on the prowl in the sequel to the 1987 hit “Wall Street.” Michael Douglas will reprise his Academy Award winning role as Gordon Gekko, and according to IMDB.com Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, will be back as well. But the new trailer that came out on Feb. 18 does not feature Sheen, nor is he in the short credit reel. Shia LaBeouf joins the veteran cast to seemingly take the place of Sheen’s character and to attract members of the younger crowd that may not remember the original.

The movie is already receiving a lot of buzz on movie blogs such as joblo.com and themovieblog.com. Both articles elude to the fact that this movie is for fans of the original. PR and advertising need to come together to give people an excuse to want to watch the movie other than Oliver Stone, Shia Labeouf and Michael Douglas. The two trailers that are out are very similar to one another and portray this story almost as if it were a remake of the first movie instead of a continuation of the original storyline. I sincerely hope that there is something more to the movie than what meets the eye at this point in time. Maybe Charlie Sheen’s character will be introduced and change my perception of what this movie is all about.

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is scheduled to open in about two months, on April 23. I am quite surprised that “Wall Street” has not been playing on television lately. I have checked my local television listing for the next two weeks and have not found any showings on basic cable. It would be a good way to get people excited about the upcoming film and gain new fans of the old movie. If they miss this opportunity, count on disappointing ticket sales on opening weekend.

Teenage Girls Flock to Walmart on March 20 February 12, 2010

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from the official press release at PRNewsWire.com

Walmart announced today that it has struck a deal with the wildly popular Twilight movie franchise to be the only retailer to sell “The Twilight Saga: New Moon Ultimate Fan Edition.” It will include 7-minutes of never before seen footage of the next movie in the series: “Eclipse” and will come out March 20, 2010 at 12:01am. In addition, Walmart will feature “Twilight Saga Shops” which will sell all things for the “fan-pire” and “wolf-lover,” and will open in March.

A partnership such as this is not new for the Twilight Saga. “Twilight,” the first movie in the series struck a similar deal with Best Buy and Target stores. The two retailers were the only ones that were able to sell the Blu-ray version of the movie. These partnerships help create buzz for both the retailer and the franchise and will help to promote the third film in the series, “Eclipse” which is set to open in theaters in late June.

With the DVD release and “Twilight Saga Shops” fast approaching, look for Walmart and Summit Entertainment to utilize social networking to get the word out to the teenagers, as well as television spots and cross-promotional advertising with the new “Twilight Graphic Novel, Vol. 1,” which will hit book book shelves on March 16.

Losties Get More Questions Than Answers in the Final Premiere February 5, 2010

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Fans of the hit TV show “Lost” have been promised answers in the final season, but most are skeptical. I for one would have been shocked if we had not been presented with new mysteries for the final season. Because the mystery and surprise is what makes Lost as good as it is. I knew we would be more confused than ever by the first episode of the final season, but I never predicted the flash-sideways concept.

Since the third season, “Lost” fans have enjoyed both flash-forwards and flashbacks, which was hard enough to follow. Now we flash to what seems to be an alternate universe where Oceanic flight 815 never crashed in what I call a “flash-sideways.” This adds another fascinating element to the show which is sure to add to its cult following.

So if you are a publicist, what can you do to promote a wildly popular show that is shrouded in mystery? Or the better question might be, what do you need to do? The teasers ABC has been playing have had faithful fans salivating since December. The thing they have tried to do is educate the people that never got into the show. There are many ways they have been successful with this. The first and most important thing they have done is to keep all the episodes from all six seasons on their website that you can stream in high definition for free. I don’t know of any other show on any other network that does this. Other popular ABC shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” do not do this. They only have the most recent episodes available. The ABC Web site also offers Lost mobile alerts via text message and different recap videos to keep viewers caught up.

ABC has also created a site for Lost fans to test their knowledge called Lost University.
The drawback is that you have to buy Lost Season 5 on Blue-ray to actually take the classes.

And as everyone that watches the show knows, each week you get an hour recap episode before the actual episode that includes hints and insights that may not always be obvious to viewers. This is very helpful to keep viewers from getting overwhelmed by the depth of the storyline and also catches you up in case you missed an episode and didn’t have time to go online and watch it in the past week.

All these things are great, but unnecessary. The show can hang onto viewers and bring in new ones on its own merit. If ABC doesn’t post Lost content, fans will go elsewhere to find it. But it sure does make the PR people at ABC look good…

Iron Man’s New Sidekick January 29, 2010

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from the official press release at PRNewsWire.com

This week Rhodey and War Machine are taking a backseat to Tony Stark’s newest sidekick, legendary rock band AC/DC. Marvel Studios and Columbia Records announced Tuesday that the group’s music will be featured in the blockbuster sequel Iron Man 2, and the soundtrack “AC/DC: Iron Man 2” will be released April 19, 2010. The Iron Man 2 movie trailer released back in December features “Shoot to Thrill” from the hit album “Back in Black.” One can only speculate that we will hear AC/DC’s 2008 track “War Machine” in the movie as well.

Fans of the franchise got their first real glimpse of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man sequel in July 2009 at Comic-Con and waited patiently for more. But more did not come until the release of the official trailer on Dec. 16, which contained most of the same footage as the Comic-Con video.

This news couldn’t come at a better time for Iron Man fans. With James Cameron’s “Avatar” blowing away box office records and occupying media attention, Iron Man has been forced to fly below the radar. This announcement has reignited the fans that have been starved for news and pictures of Tony Stark and company. I have been getting all my Iron Man news from @Jon_Favreau on twitter, but there hasn’t been much to see or read about. Hopefully the next trailer will be out soon.

The movie touts a star studded cast including Robert Downy Jr. as Tony Stark, Don Cheadle replaces Tarrence Howard as Rhodey, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, and director John Favreau reprising his role as Happy Hogan. The storyline of the second movie in the series is more complex than the first. In addition to meeting Iron Man’s arch villain Whiplash, Rhodey will get to play a dual role as Tony’s best friend and War Machine, Black Widow is introduced, and we get better acquainted with Nick Fury who was introduced after the credits of the first “Iron Man” in 2008. Iron Man, Black Widow, War Machine, and Nick Fury will also appear in Marvel’s 2012 film “The Avengers.”

In case you have not seen it, here is the official “Iron Man 2” trailer.